|“||We didn't have the willpower or the material to put into an ambitious RPG anymore... We'd had three tries already... Three tries had been buried in the darkness of the past... But if it was a stupid little game...||”|
—TADA, on the development of Rance 5D.
|Rance 5D - The Lonely girl|
|Ransu 5D -Hitoribotchi no Onnanoko-|
(c)アリスソフト DVD case art
|Genre / Rating||Roulette RPG / 18+|
Rance 5D: The Lonely Girl is the eighth game in Alicesoft's flagship Rance Series. It was released in Japan on October 25, 2002, almost six years after Kichikuou Rance, marking the longest time span between the release of two Rance games.
Alicesoft initially intended for the next game in the Rance series to be a large-scale RPG in order to meet the expectations set by the explosive success of Kichikuou Rance. After a series of complications, however, plans fell through and development on the project was cancelled. Despite the extensive emotional and financial strain that was brought onto the company by the failure, a second effort to develop another Rance title began, but quickly fizzled out during its early stages. Following this second failure, a final attempt was made at completing the game, with both its scale and the size of its development team cut in half. While this smaller version of the game made it quite far into production, it was eventually dropped for unknown reasons.
In the wake of the three successive failures to produce another Rance title, Alicesoft's company president TADA decided to temporarily abandon the series in order to focus on the creation of an entirely new one. The result of this decision was the territory conquest game Daiakuji, the first game in the Dai Series. Daiakuji proved to be an incredible success, rivaling Kichikuou Rance in sales numbers, and restored both the company's finances and confidence.
Following Daiakuji's success, Alicesoft decided to return to the Rance series. In contrast to their initial grand ambitions, however, the new project was made following a specific set of guidelines:
- It will be completed no matter what.
- It will return to the series' simpler roots that were established in Rance I and II.
- It will be a mechanically unusual RPG.
- It will be small in scale.
- It will be stupid.
After the project was successfully completed, it was decided that the game would be entitled 'Rance 5D' in reference to the three failed attempts at a fifth game in the Rance series that came before it. Due to its relatively small size, it was sold for 2800 yen; a significantly lower price than other eroge available at retail at the time. This innovative pricing decision proved to have a lasting effect on the eroge industry as a whole, and it has since become a common practice for development companies to re-release older titles designed for more obsolete hardware at a lowered price in order to continue generating revenue from them.
Despite being recognized as a sequel to Rance 4.2, Rance 5D also serves as the beginning of a "soft reboot" to the series. While Kichikuou Rance acted as a grand scale finale to the games that preceded it, Rance 5D instead works as a standalone game that reintroduces the setting of The Continent and the characters of Rance and Sill Plain to new audiences rather than advance any of the series' overarching plotlines. Series mainstays such as Kentou Kanami, Shizuka Masou and Maria Custard are notably absent for the first time since their respective debuts. In addition, two new characters who would go on to become major recurring presences in the series; Rizna Lanfbitt and Copandon Dott, make their first appearances.
Rance 5D also marks the beginning of Orion's tenure as the main artist of the series. Despite self-deprecatingly saying that he was only recruited to serve as the main artist due to it being a "stupid game that needed a stupid artist", he has continued to serve as artist for every main series Rance game that has followed it.
The game's soundtrack was released as Alicesoft Sound Album Vol. 02-2.
Described as a "roulette RPG", Rance 5D is well known for its very unusual gameplay system. Dungeon exploration, item collection, combat and story progression are all entirely randomized through the use of either a roulette spinner or a six-sided die. While the player is able to manipulate all four of these randomized sections slightly through the use of certain items and mechanics, gameplay is overall highly dependent on luck.
The game is divided into 5 chapters, each of which is split into several sections. Each section has a time limit within which they must be completed. A "scene select" option is available at the title screen, allowing for the player to begin from any section of a chapter that they have reached. As a result, it is very easy to repeat every section in the game, making it possess a fairly low difficulty level in spite of its randomness.
While exploring dungeons, the player is given the option of selecting either one, three or five orbs to spin across the roulette wheel at once. The player is allowed to select any one of the spaces that the sets of three or five orbs land on, but both cost more time to use than spinning a single orb does. Spaces on the roulette include monster encounters, traps which hamper the player in some way unless disabled, treasure chests that contain useful items, events that progress the story, and portals that allow the player to learn the history of the bizarre alien planet of Kurupiston.
Combat consists of parties of up to three members battling against each other. Every character, both enemy and ally, has a grid of six commands, each of which is assigned a number between one and six. On each character's turn, a six-sided die is rolled, with the number that it lands on causing the character to use the skill assigned to it. Along with characters recruited over the course of the story, Rance is also able to capture 18 varieties of Gal Monster enemies to fight alongside him as party members. When a character levels up, they are given a new skill which they can choose to either place into one of their six slots or to ignore. The skills within the six slots can be rearranged any time outside of battle. Characters recruited through the story each have two classes to fight using, with the skills they learn upon leveling up differing depending on which class was leveled. As a result of this mechanic, Rance is capable of using the Magic Arts for the first and only time in the series.
The warrior Rance, his faithful slave Sill Plain and his not-quite-as-faithful pet Athena 2.0 are out adventuring in an attempt to regain their money, all of which Rance had spent earlier playing around. Their travels lead them to a mysterious cave, in which all three become lost. Rance successfully reunites with Sill and, agitated over getting stuck and indifferent to Athena's well being, attempts to exit the cave, only to find himself becoming even more lost in the process.
The duo briefly encounter Rance's longtime "rival" Bird Lithfie, who has begun dating Copandon Dott, a girl obsessed with finding a man who possesses great luck. On a journey to find the fabled "land of happiness" together, the couple also became trapped in the cave. Rance attempts to steal Copandon away from Bird, but is refused due to Copandon's belief that Bird is the "great luck guy" that she seeks.
Following this, Rance and Sill stumble into a mysterious town inhabited by various strange creatures known as Youkai. Within this town, the pair learn that they have inadvertently entered into Genbu Castle, a pocket dimension in which time stand still and from which escape is seemingly impossible. Horrified at the idea of never being able to partake in the women of the outside world again, Rance quickly begins searching for a way out. Along the way, he is targeted by Rizna Lanfbitt, an enigmatic woman who seeks to manipulate him into assisting her in exiting Genbu Castle on her own. Instantly taken in by her beauty, Rance agrees to help Rizna in the hopes of eventually being able to have sex with her.
Meanwhile, Bird and Copandon discover a treasure chest containing the rare Gal Monster Lil Avenger, a master assassin who will exterminate whoever the person that discovers her tells her to. After Bird accidentally(?) tells her to target Rance, the Gal Monster begins her relentless pursuit to take his life.
Even when he is trapped in a world beyond time and fighting for his life at every second, Rance still chooses to prioritize finding every beautiful girl that he can and having sex with them over looking for a means of escape. And so, a new chapter of the brutal legend begins...
Party Members Edit
- Rance - A warrior/mercenary with exceptional skill, luck and sexual drive as well as an excessively brutal personality. Has brown hair and wears green clothes under his armor.
- Sill Plain - Rance's loyal slave. She has numerous magical abilities, such as fire, ice, and mind reading. She also provides services such as cooking, clothes washing, and companionship in bed.
- Rizna Lanfbitt - The main heroine. A mage from the magically advanced country of Zeth. She tries very hard not to be extremely gullible... and she is still trying.
- Athena 2.0 - An orange-haired organic magical android that serves as Rance's pet. Has a very low IQ (about as high as a dog's). Enjoys H.
- Copandon Dott - An Omikuji diviner who is obsessed with marrying a man who possesses great luck. Currently Bird's girlfriend.
- Feliss - A green-haired devil. Has to obey Rance's every whim due to him learning her true name. Currently suffering from an illness that temporarily weakens her power.
- Kagekatsu - A noble Puchi Hanny who lives by the code of bushido used by the samurai of JAPAN. He has taken it upon himself to act as Rizna's guardian, and is extremely suspicious of outsiders.
- Noriko -A youkai who runs the item shop in Genbu Castle. Despite being a youkai, she appears entirely identical to a human girl. Friendly, but lacks confidence in herself.
- Bird Lithfie - An unlucky adventurer of decent, but unremarkable, ability. Has a habit of falling for every attractive girl he meets. Rance has stolen his female companions every time they have crossed paths.
- Waka - A mysterious girl who is the supposed "princess" of Genbu Castle. Exists in two forms: an emotionless doll that is anatomically nearly identical to a real human, and a talking portrait with a sharp tongue.
- Lil Avenger - A rare gal monster that will eliminate the target assigned by whoever discovers her. Currently pursuing Rance after being found by Bird.
- Nopperabo - A youkai that runs a JAPANese-styled temple inside of Genbu Castle. Takes the form of a faceless humanoid. While frightening, he is very helpful and kind.